5 benefits adults have over children when learning to play the piano
Is it too late to learn to play the piano when you’re already an adult? If you are an adult learning piano, your age might just prove to be a real benefit!
I meet many adults who wish they learned how to play the piano when they were a child. Many of them also believe that now they’re an adult, it is ‘too late’ to learn.
And nothing could be further from the truth!
In fact, learning music as an adult comes with some benefits you may not be aware of. So take courage, my adult friends!
Here are 5 unique benefits to being an adult piano student:
Most adults who take up piano lessons do so because they have a deep desire to learn to play the piano.
They don’t do it because their parents make them or because a sibling is learning and they are just following the same path. Their motivation comes from within!
This is a much better approach to lessons and learning in general, as being motivated by passion and interest is usually more powerful than being encouraged by something external, such as a cheering parent.
In fact, one of the key challenges for piano teachers teaching children is to graduate them from being externally motivated to unlocking their intrinsic motivation to practice. Moving from reward-based systems (“if you practice every day this week you get a sticker”) to practice for the sake of progress.
The other big benefit of intrinsic motivation is that it will boost interest not just for days or weeks, but for years. And since learning to play the piano is a long-term pursuit, you can see how this would come in handy!
Adults have a much greater ability to concentrate compared to children. They can practice for longer periods of time and often with a better idea of what to do and how to do it if given the right amount of coaching.
Kids often have competing interests too (think sports, video games, homework). Piano practice might not be at the top of the list, and for many kids, practice becomes just another chore.
Adults have serious time constraints as well but they are learning because they want to learn, so practice is not a chore. In fact, piano practice can be almost therapeutic! It allows adults some much needed time for themselves and their own personal development.
FINE MUSCLE CONTROL
Adults’ fine muscle control is generally superior to that of small children, which may come as a surprise to many.
Typically, people see young children play fast pieces with their tiny hands and conclude that children’s hands are ‘more flexible’ than theirs.
That’s a misconception of what piano playing is. Adults generally have greater control over their muscles, producing a much better tone much more quickly.
Adult hands are also fully grown and stronger. They can, therefore, tackle certain technical aspects earlier in their journey. As a result, a far greater choice of repertoire is available to them.
In fact, the perceived flexibility is often more associated with less self-awareness in young children, where they are just less inhibited to experiment and jump around on the piano.
In most cases, adults will have had vastly more exposure to music in their lives than most children and more complex music at that.
This means their mental storage of musical ideas and patterns will be much greater than that of a child. This idea-bank can be very useful when learning how to improvise or to refer back to when learning repertoire.
FULLY DEVELOPED BRAIN
The fact that adults come to piano lessons with a fully developed brain cannot be understated.
Adults are much more able to understand abstract concepts (and music is full of them). While this can sometimes trip them up (see this blog post that explores some difficulties adult learners face) in general it means that they can progress through theory far quicker than kids can.
Similarly, they can be exposed to reading right from the get-go. They can even be asked to analyse their music at a much earlier level than most children.
Finally, adults are also fully formed emotionally. This means they can bring out the abstract, emotional content of a piece of piano music with authenticity. Small children usually rely on simply copying the teacher.
So there we have it! Five benefits you adults have over kids.
If you’d like to dive deeper and explore piano lessons for yourself, why not get in touch? I’d love to help you become a pianist!